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US imposes new sanctions on Cuba over human rights, Venezuela

The U.S. on Friday announced that it will impose new sanctions on Cuba over its human rights violations and for supporting Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro and his government.

The Commerce Department wrote in a statement that it will “further restrict” Cuba’s access to commercial aircraft and other goods.

The department will revoke any existing licenses for aircraft leases to Cuban state-owned airlines and will deny any future lease applications. It will also impose additional sanctions to cover foreign goods that have U.S. content, according to the department.

“This action by the Commerce Department sends another clear message to the Cuban regime – that they must immediately cease their destructive behavior at home and abroad,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in the statement. “The Trump Administration will continue to act against the Cuban regime for its misdeeds, while continuing to support the Cuban people and their aspirations for freedom and prosperity.”

Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, tweeted later Friday that the newly-announced sanctions were “additional economic blockade measures evidencing moral bankruptcy of an internationally isolated policy promoted by a corrupted government.”

The move comes after the Trump administration in June imposed a new set of travel restrictions on Cuba in a rollback of former President Obama’s detente with the island nation.

President Trump has also expanded sanctions against Venezuela, moving in August to establish a full economic embargo in an attempt to pressure Maduro to step down.

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